Inclusive sports festival for children with disabilities in Jakarta
Asia-Pacific, December 22 2016
Following similar festivals held in Pasuruan, Bone and Subang, an inclusive sports festival for children was held for the first time in Jakarta on Dec. 18.
Located in the green area of the Education and Culture Ministry office complex, the event was attended by students from schools for children with disabilities, junior high schools (SMPs) in Jakarta, and street children from Yayasan Suara shelter home in East Jakarta.
Organized by The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Education and Culture Ministry, the participants came from state SLB No. 5 Jakarta, SLB No. 6 Jakarta, SMP No. 88 Jakarta, State Islamic Junior High School No. 12 Jakarta, and the Indonesian Special Olympics (SOIna) Committee. Moreover, the festival included different game sections that allowed participants to exercise as well as learn about healthy lifestyles and tolerance.
The games were given unique names such as 3G (Go, Gol, Golf), Geng Rantai, Kotak Katik and Lalintas Tangguh. In Kotak Katik, for example, children were encouraged to interact with each other in order to arrange a puzzle about how to brush their teeth properly, eat vegetables, and included messages about a healthy lifestyle.
Youth adolescent officer of UNICEF Indonesia Anissa Elok Budiyani told The Jakarta Post that every game was adaptable.
“For example, if there’s a child in a wheelchair, the game rules or equipment will be adjusted to accommodate that child,” she explained. “This festival is not about competition, but it’s more about how children support each other, for instance when there’s a child with hearing disabilities, how they are supposed to behave, so they can play together and have the same chance to win without having to feel that they’re burdens on the team.”
Anissa admitted that putting children from SLBs together with junior high schools and making all the equipment were the challenges of the event. However, all of the children seemed to enjoy the game. One of the participants was eighth grader Diandra, of Islamic Junior High School No. 12.
“Today was fun, I could play together with children with disabilities. I was able to interact with them,” he said, adding that he would be glad to join a similar event in the future.
Despite Indonesia’s success in establishing nine-year compulsory education, there are still children who do not have access to education, especially children with disabilities.
“We want them to be able to learn together with other children, so they don’t have to be separated in SLB,” Anissa said, adding that some schools were still reluctant to apply inclusive education, thus creating barriers for children with disabilities to study.
“Hopefully this festival will show that inclusive education is not impossible. It’s not easy, but there are things that school can do for children with disabilities,” she said. (asw)